Control Little Rock

Control Little Rock

Crate diggers, rejoice: Hillcrest is getting a record shop. Wes Howerton and Michael Shaeffer have been operating under the name Control for a year now, spinning records for Soul Brunch at South on Main and selling carefully curated long players at pop-up spots wherever they might, well, pop up — in the back room of Electric Ghost Printing, at Community Bakery’s and Boulevard Bread Co.’s SoMa spots, at The Meteor in Stifft Station. Now, they’ve got a brick-and-mortar in the Hillcrest Historic District of Little Rock, opening at noon this Saturday. We talked with Howerton and Shaeffer about the opening.

Where’s the store gonna be?

In the heart of Hillcrest, at 2612 Kavanaugh Blvd. (Right next to Box Turtle.)


Do you have a projected opening date?  

Our Grand Opening Day is Saturday, June 22.

When did you all first establish Control?

We first started doing pop-up shops as Control almost exactly a year ago. We were part of the “Pop Up in the Rock — Stifft Station” [project] in June 2018. We continued doing pop-up shops until we found this permanent spot a couple of months ago.

Why did you name it “Control?”

Howerton: It was a name I had been thinking on for a while before anything was ever talked about. It’s rooted in some favorite bands, like Joy Division and Pedro the Lion — and even Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty. But really, it’s a name I just thought fit.


Shaeffer: When Wes told me the idea of the name “Control,” I thought it was a perfect fit for a record store. I’ve always thought of music was a way to take control of your world. Whether it’s personal or political, music is a way to find your way through everything.

Vinyl collectors are a special breed. Do you remember what records you and Michael first geeked out over together?

Special breed indeed. As many records as we both share a love for, there are as many that we don’t, which makes a great pair [of preferences] for owning a record store together. Some of the ones we did geek on were artists like BADBADNOTGOOD, Destroyer, Otis Redding and Elvis Costello, just to name a few.

For each of you, what’s the record you’ll never, ever sell, not in a million years?

Howerton: Oh, man. I own a record store now. I’m not sure that exists. Everything is for sale! But really, there are a lot of records from my days working for Barsuk [Barsuk Records, of Seattle, Wash.] and some test pressings that I would never sell.

Shaeffer: No one will ever lay a hand on my Brian Eno first pressings.